I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how I manage my workload, and it seems to me that if I were a CEO of a major company, my skills would be lauded as if I were the magna cum laude of Success University. Because I use my skills for decidedly less glamorous purposes – my family, household, small business, et al. – people look down their noses at me. That’s not okay, but I’ve learned to accept it. People see what they want to see, and I have no control over that, so I’d rather spend my time working on me than focusing on them.
I’ve assumed for the longest time that being on the grind automatically translates into keep on going/don’t stop, don’t stop!/push yourself harder/don’t come up for air/work your ass off until you feel spent and insecure and totally empty. This isn’t true. Keeping on your grind means continuously pushing yourself to improve, yes. But doing so shouldn’t be at the risk of your sanity and well-being. I realized this today, when instead of bogging myself down with my 1000+-page health assessment book and studying like a fiend all day, I allowed myself time to relax between classes.
That “relaxation time” translated into studying physics, doing problem sets in physics, and talking with classmates about nothing in particular. I ended up de-stressing while simultaneously doing things that I needed to do anyway – and I hadn’t even planned on it. I ended up acing a quiz, learning new skills, establishing baselines for relationships, and feeling refreshed and rejuvenated by the end of the day. Now, here I am at 3 a.m., not feeling the slightest bit pressured to study, but feeling the itch nonetheless. Here I am, knowing full well that after I study, I’m going to do a million other things that I have to do – and yet I’m not stressed.
I’m not checking my to-do list or worrying about outcomes or comparing myself to others or trying to live up to others’ expectations. I’m just doing what comes naturally to me, and liking whatever I get.
And, somehow, the world isn’t falling apart.